Spy Glass Page 116

Nancee beamed at us. “You two must be a special couple.”

“We are,” Galen said.

The Minister flourished papers for us to sign. Nancee brought them to Galen first, pointing out where to write his signature. She gestured me over, then handed me the pen.

The air in the room clung to me like a thick syrup. My lungs strained to breathe. Nancee’s short fingernail marked the proper spot. Her nails had been cut short and lacked polish. For a well-dressed woman who had spent time arranging her hair in a neat style and putting on makeup, her hands didn’t match. Then I spotted the scar along her index finger. One of my worries floated off my back, but it was immediately replaced with a different concern.

“Sign it Opal Bloodrose,” Galen said.

I scrawled the name under Galen’s.

Nancee marked the papers and handed one set to Galen. “For your records. We’ll send the other to the Bloodgood capital, Vein Ravine.”

As they made small talk, Galen drew power, seeking their deeper emotions. The ones they hid under the polite small talk.

I moved between Galen and the couple. “It’s getting late. If you plan to be home before dark, you should go soon.”

Galen kept his smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “They’re welcome to stay as long as they’d like. I was about to offer them some refreshments.”

Heath thanked Galen. “Opal’s right. We should go.” He tsked. “The heating season’s foggy weather just won’t quit, putting a crimp in travel.”

We did the polite goodbyes.

“I’ll escort you out.” Then I said to Galen, “I’ll be back. Okay?”

Outmaneuvered, Galen’s grin strained as he agreed.

The three of us kept silent until we were far enough away not to be overheard.

“How did you know I was here?” I asked them. When they acted offended and confused, I cut in. “Valek did another excellent job with your disguises, but you can’t fool me anymore. I saw Eve’s scar. The one I gave her the last time we did knife defense.”

“Ah, hell,” Nic said. He pulled a silver coin from his pocket and gave it to his partner.

“Always a pleasure taking your money,” Eve said.

“We don’t have time for this,” I said.

“We followed Devlen,” Nic said. “Along with that big Ixian.”

Ari was here, too. I didn’t know if I should be glad or scared. “Leave now. Galen’s suspicious of you.”

But Nic wouldn’t budge. He engulfed me in a hug, squeezing the breath from me. Then he rested his hands on my shoulders and peered at me in concern. “How are you holding up?”

I stifled the desire to punch him. “Better now that I know I’m not legally married to Galen, but if I’m forced to reveal your identities and harm you then I’ll be sick. Go, so I don’t have to. Please.”

“Okay, okay. Settle down. We’ll leave. Our job’s finished anyway,” Nic said. He hugged me again and Eve squeezed my hand.

“Stay strong,” she said.

I watched them cross to the stables, wishing Nic was a better liar. The big lug had no intention of leaving. I wanted to cry and cheer at the same time.

Before I reached Galen’s office, I read the note from Walsh. He suspected Galen would attempt to take control of the family. Even in his warped mind, Walsh loved them and didn’t wish to see them subjected to Galen’s harsh leadership. Explaining what was in those syringes, Walsh hoped I would aid his family. I tore the letter into small pieces and threw them in the trash.

When I returned to the office, Galen didn’t wait to unleash his anger over my little trick. “You are to remain silent unless I ask you a question or give you permission to speak. You’ve been taking advantage of my inattention to details. I’m going to rectify that right now.” He read from a list he had written.

My loopholes disappeared with each command. All but two and I clung to them. They were all I had to keep me from giving up.

He slammed the paper down on the desk. “I’ve been too nice to you. I don’t think you really understand how nice.” Galen stood. “Don’t move.”

My mind yelled to run away, but my feet remained planted.

He approached me and slid his hands under my shirt, fondling my br**sts. I bit my tongue, hoping the pain would distract me.

“I can feel you’re repulsed and afraid,” he said. “I order you to relax and enjoy my touch.”

Heat spread across my body, igniting desire.

“Better or worse?” he asked.

“Worse.”

“Now do you understand how nice I’ve been?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I think it’s time to consummate our nuptials. You will get pleasure from everything I do to you even if it hurts. Consider it a wedding gift.” He yanked my shirt off.

I shivered in delight as he ran his hands over my back and again when he finished undressing me. A distant corner of my mind recognized the horror and humiliation, but I was powerless.

A knock sounded before Galen could do more. Thank fate! Irritated, he strode to the door and opened it a crack.

“This better be important,” he said.

Devlen’s voice replied, too low for me to discern his words.

Galen glanced at me. “Get dressed.”

More than happy to oblige, I pulled my clothes on in record time. Galen swung the door wide and returned to his desk.

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